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Pacers struggle to rally from another early hole

Clackamas goes up 17-0 and a second-half comeback falls short


It was a little more of the same for the Lakeridge football team against Clackamas last week. A slow start, some untimely penalties and, frankly, some bad luck, hindered the Pacers in a 33-21 loss.

Lakeridge has shown that it has the talent to compete against some of the better teams in the league, but hasn't put together a complete game.

The Pacers got off to a tough start. Clackamas lined up for the opening kickoff and hit a low squib that bounced awkwardly and was ultimately recovered by the Cavaliers.

Clackamas took over deep in Lakeridge territory and quickly capitalized with a touchdown.

For the second week in a row, it took a good portion of the first half for the Pacers to get into rhythm on offense.

The Cavaliers recorded a stop and scored again on a run by Dan Sherrell to make it 14-0.

“We got into a hole again and we felt a little snake-bit this time,” coach Tom Smythe said.

The lead swelled to 17-0 before Lakeridge finally found the end zone. Eric Dungey connected with Joe Sindlinger from 30 yards out. Dungey then hit Tonga Taokelau-Aisea on a short pass for the two-point conversion to make it 17-8.

Clackamas would tack on another score before the half and the Pacers were forced to play catch-up again.

Lakeridge had its full arsenal of running backs again but was forced to attack through the air in the second half as the team trailed by 16 points.

“We want to balance things out a bit but it's tough when you fall behind,” Smythe said.

The Cavaliers appeared to all but seal the game in the opening moments of the second half when Sherrell broke a 64-yard touchdown run, bumping the lead to 31-8.

However, Lakeridge started to rally. The Pacers responded impressively, marching down the field and getting a 10-yard keeper from Dungey.

Lakeridge's defense then responded with a crucial stop and the Pacers tacked on another touchdown, this time from just a yard out by Lopeti Aisea and suddenly, it was 31-21.

However, much like in the Oregon City game the week earlier, Lakeridge struggled to make it a one-score game.

Again, Lakeridge got into the Pioneers' territory but hurt itself with dead ball penalties.

“The penalties are obviously a problem and once you get a reputation, you've got to be careful,” Smythe said.

An intentional grounding penalty in the end zone added the final score of the night for Clackamas in the form of a safety.

The Pacers are still looking for their first league win and hope to climb into the top-three by the end of the season.

“The league champ this year could be 3-2 in league. We've just got to pick up a win. We're being aggressive and that's a good thing. It's a good group of kids and we have the talent,” Smythe said.

Next up for Lakeridge is another non-league contest against Lincoln. The Pacers topped Lincoln twice in the regular season last year.



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